What is a grilling or grill-able cheese?
Grilling cheeses have been eaten for a long time and throughout the whole world. This type of cheese was – and still is – especially popular in regions such as the Middle East. That’s because keeping food cool has long been a problem in hot regions. Cooking the curds and brining the cheese ensures a long shelf life. The fact that the cheese doesn’t melt is an advantage in our modern kitchen where these cheeses can serve as a meat substitute. Since the 1990s, grilling cheeses, and especially halloumi, has also become more well-known in Anglo-Saxon countries and Europe.
Different types of grill-able cheeses.
The Cypriot halloumi (or hellim in Turkey) is by far the best known grill cheese. The name halloumi dates back to the Egyptian “Hallum. The name refers to a cheese already eaten in medieval Egypt.
On July 17, 2014, both the Turkish and Greek parts of Cyprus applied to have the designation of the cheese recognized as a European designation of origin. The EU supported that application. because it could unify the island. Finally, after much disagreement among Cypriot producers and farmers, the designation of origin was granted in 2021. Only Halloumi produced in Cyprus may now use the designation Halloumi.
According to the denomination of origin, there may be a maximum of 49% cow’s milk in the cheese but this rule has since been severely watered down. Today (2023) most of the Halloumi being made contains only 20% goat and sheep milk.
In the our Zuivelarij we do not understand this designation of origin. Halloumi is not a region but a type of cheese manufactured throughout the world. Cyprus may be the main Halloumi producing country in the world, but the history of Halloumi does not lie in Cyprus. Cyprus also has no specific climate or other key geographical features. Much more logical, fairer and by analogy with, say, Camembert de Normandie, would have been to protect“Cypriot Halloumi.
Nabulsi is a cooked and pickled cheese from Palestine. Known in the wider region, the cheese originated in Nablus. Black cumin and mastic provide the aroma of the cheese. Nabulsi is eaten either cold or hot. In the Palestinian dish“knafeh,” you use a modified version of the cheese. The cheese is then more aged and more like mozzarella. In that form, you normally don’t eat the cheese grilled.
Cheese curds or squeaky cheese
In Canada and the northern United States, you often eat fresh curdfried. You cut the curd into irregular pieces. Sometimes the cheese is passed through a savory fritter batter. In Canada, they use these cheese curds in“poutine. That’s a local dish. Poutine consists of French fries and fried cheese. This is all topped with a stew-like meat sauce. In Wisconsin, they put the cheese through a batter for frying. You can often find this snack at festivals and fairs. Cheese curds are at best when they are very fresh. They have a remarkable mouth-feel and squeak when you bite down on them. Hence the name“sqeaky cheese.
Leipäjuusto comes from northern Finland. It literally means“bread cheese. The cheese is traditionally made with the very fat colostrum milk of newly calved cows. Then again, commercial cheeses are simply made from cow’s milk. Unlike other grilling cheeses, leipäjuusto is not “re-cooked. It is baked or grilled in the oven. Then the cheese is dried slightly to very hard. Because these highly dehydrated cheeses are bone hard, you have to warm them up before eating.
Leipäjuusto is often eaten with berries, and topped with coffee. Sometimes they also pour cream on top and then the cheese is heated in the oven.
Paneer or panir
Paneer or panir comes from India and the surrounding area. It’s made in a very different way than most cheeses. The cheese most closely resembles a fresh, pressed ricotta made from whole milk. First you heat milk strongly, to more than 90°C. Then cool it slightly and curdle it with lemon juice, vinegar or another acid. So there are no bacteria or enzymes involved. Here, the whey protein that are lost in most cheeses will stay in the cheese. As a result, paneer always remains fairly moist. Paneer has a short shelf life but you can very easily make the cheese yourself! Check out this video.
Paneer is usually cut into cubes for frying or baking. Then he ends up in a curry. The most famous preparation is“saag paneer. That’s a recipe with spinach. In most dishes, you can certainly alternate paneer with Berloumi. The most famous is probably “saag paneer,” a preparation with spinach. In most recipes, Paneer is interchangeable with Berloumi.
Queijo coalho is a fresh Brazilian grilling cheese. You often find it on the beach, where they grill it as a kebab. In terms of manufacturing, the cheese is very similar to a mixture of halloumi and mozzarella. The milk is not soured, but the curd is usually slightly heated. Coalho you usually eat very fresh.
Provolone or Provoleta
Provoleta is the Argentine version of the Italian provolone. Italian provolone is an aged“pasta filata. It is the style of cheese that includes mozzarella and pizza cheese. Provoleta is traditionally grilled on the asado. That’s a low Argentine barbecue. Provolone, unlike Berloumi and halloumi, does melt a bit. The trick is to let the cheese come to room temperature. Then the outside dries slightly. Then rub it with oil and grill it over a high heat. Scamorza and Caciocavallo also belong to the same cheese type.
Saganaki is not really a grilling cheese but rather a reference to the typical Saganaki pan in which non-melting cheeses are often baked. The cheeses that go into it are traditionally kefalotyri, kefalograviera and kasseri. But you can also put our Berloumi in the saganaki. The cheese fried in the saganaki pan is often flambéed and then quenched with lemon juice. But this custom is more in use in Greek restaurants outside Greece. You can also flambé our Berloumi.
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